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Unequal ChancesEthnic Minorities in Western Labour Markets$
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Anthony F Heath and Sin Yi Cheung

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263860

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263860.001.0001

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Progress in Reducing Catholic Disadvantage in Northern Ireland

Progress in Reducing Catholic Disadvantage in Northern Ireland

(p.551) 13 Progress in Reducing Catholic Disadvantage in Northern Ireland
Unequal Chances



British Academy

This chapter on Northern Ireland focuses on the indigenous Catholics and Protestants, who can be viewed as ethno-religious groups. The historically disadvantaged position of Catholics continued after the partition of Ireland and the establishment of Northern Ireland in 1921, and the differences with respect to their position in the labour market, especially unemployment rates, have long been a symbol of contention and a matter of political importance. Comparison of data from the Continuous Household Surveys in 1985–1986 and 2002–2003 revealed substantial improvement for Catholic men in terms of avoidance of unemployment. This is consistent with the positive impact of the improving economy and the British government's fair employment legislation (Acts of 1976, 1989, and 1998). The class situations of Catholic women have also improved over the period covered. However, we find that Catholic men are still disadvantaged in accessing the salariat and in their labour-market earnings.

Keywords:   Northern Ireland, Catholics, labour market, Protestants, unemployment, salariat, earnings

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